METRO Bank, the new High Street lender backed by US billionaire Vernon Hill, is set to make a canny business ploy out of the conventional wisdom that dogs are a man’s best friend – by welcoming its customers’ canine companions into its branches with open arms.
Metro, with the catchy slogan “Love your Bank”, has so far made its name with a promise of superlative customer service – opening at the weekend and until late on weekdays, providing coin counting machines in store, allowing clients to pilfer as many branded biro pens as they like, and so on.
And now word reaches The Capitalist that when Metro’s first branches open their doors in a couple of weeks time, dogs will be able to trot right in alongside their owners and will even enjoy a touch of the VIP treatment themselves. That’s right, folks – the bank is due to provide free bowls of water and chewy bones to ensure that your four-legged furry pals are as happy as you are.
I hear the whole idea stems from the bank’s billionaire backer Vernon Hill, who is himself a dog-lover and dotes on his little Yorkshire terrier Duffy. Hill’s previous venture in the US, Commerce Bank, also allowed pets into branches, and provided free dog biscuits in the lobby.
AND ALL THAT JAZZ
Another day and another notch of progress on PricewaterhouseCoopers chairman Ian Powell’s quest to prove that accountants aren’t half as dull as legend would have us believe.
Powell was the guest yesterday evening on the inaugural weekly “Jazz in the City” show on Jazz FM, hosted by seasoned Schoders fund manager Andy Brough and Paul Kavanagh from from stockbroker Killik & Co – where City heavyweights discuss their views on the economy and their favourite jazz tunes, in equal measure.
Powell, who has just returned fresh from Davos, where he says the mood was “much more confident and upbeat” despite the lack of firm direction on many of the proposals for reform, says he likes “all kinds of music, from Massive Attack to Puccini”.
“But my wife’s father was a professional jazz saxophonist,” he tells me, “so I do have a connection to jazz…”
His key tips for relaxing with some smooth grooves? Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald, interspersed with some Astrud Gilberto and Charles Mingus, for the jazz aficionados out there.
Finally, a call to arms for those who fancy themselves able to pull off a traditional City look with style and panache. Next Thursday 11 February will see Square Milers trooping around wearing natty headgear for the second official Bowler Hat Day, in aid of the SOS Children’s Haiti Appeal.
Those taking part will be in good company – among the luminaries already signed up are Strand Hanson chairman Robert Hanson and chief executive Simon Raggett, Freshfields partner Simon Hall, Cardew Group chairman Anthony Cardew and DLA Piper London managing partner Catherine Usher. Visit www.bowlerhatday.com for more details.